When it comes to technology, there’s always a trade-off between quality and cost. If you’re buying a new computer, you can choose a more expensive model with a faster processor, more storage space, more memory, or a better graphics card. Or, you can give up some or all of those features if you want to pay less. However, everyone typically has different values when it comes to assessing quality—and this is especially true when it comes to choosing a new document automation solution.
When choosing the right document automation software, you’ll want to ask yourself several questions. What are you trying to accomplish? Is the user interface easy to navigate? Does it support your preferred datasources and programming languages? Is the template designer easy to use? Who will mainly be using the software, programmers or business users?
Many companies are tempted to build their own document automation solution into their current application because, on the surface, it seemingly costs less money. Building might seem like the cheapest software solution. But while it might cost the company less upfront, there will still be costs affecting the bottom line. Consider:
Software is only truly cheap when it does not require constant developer intervention or maintenance. If your business users can develop stunning templates and generate documents, invoices, and reports all on their own, then you're saving your developers' time and your executives' money. And with an easy-to-use template design interface, you'll also save time and money on training as well.
Can your developers build a document automation solution from scratch that requires no further maintenance from their team? Would you business users be able to create templates in whatever interface your developers design? Consider these questions before moving forward.
Legal and regulatory requirements change frequently, and your documents must keep up. For example, healthcare workers and pharmaceutical researchers cannot turn in documents that don’t meet rigid board standards. You’ll save time, and therefore money, with documents automatically generated from templates that meet legal and corporate requirements. And generating documents directly from your company’s datasource will ensure that the data is accurate, with no room for user error.
Moreover, you’ll want to make sure whatever document automation solution you choose will integrate securely with your current security structure. There are constantly new hacks, exploits, and security issues to keep on top of, and you want to make sure whatever document automation software you install can keep up.
Scalability is an essential part of excellent document automation software. You can consider a solution scalable when you won’t need to redesign it to maintain effective document generation performance or accommodate your company’s growth. Ask: can your chosen solution grow or change with your users’ demands?
Changes cost money. Big changes cost even more money. If your company’s document generation requirements are likely to change in the future (and if you don’t think they will—they will), it’s important right now to pick a scalable and flexible solution so you’re not left scrambling or paying a premium for new software. You’ll want to look for a solution that has a small or even no limit on the number of simultaneous documents or number of pages.
This guide will walk you through how to determine which document automation or document generation product is best for you. No one solution, not even Windward’s, is best for all use cases.
It’s important now to carefully consider all of your options so you won’t be making a costly mistake in the future. Reviews can help immensely.
And if you're still unsure, Windward always offers a free, 14-day trial.